Herschelle Goodman sets Dixons alight
This was always going to be the greatest test of this Glenwood team so far and it was a test that exposed some weaknesses in the Glenwood armour.
Glenwood have had the better of the recent exchanges with Monnas but this version of “Die Wit Bulle’, as they are often referred to, is a different kettle of fish altogether.
In the past Monnas would always have a pack forwards that could match up with any of the top schools in the country. The one part of their game which has limited their position in the annual rankings was their back line play. Perhaps its been due to the past South African obsession with size and running over the man as opposed to actually playing rugby that this is so.
The result was that their backs would be ponderous and devoid of any imagination whatsoever. They have however over the last 7 years been quite successful with this strategy. The fact that their average ranking over this time has been in the 5-6 range is a testament to the sheer raw talent that is available to them. But as has been demonstrated at the senior levels of our rugby this can only take you so far.
To be successful at the pinnacle of school boy rugby it takes a great set of forwards and a play making flyhalf to get the most out of his back line and keep the defense honest.
Enter Grade 11 learner Herschelle Goodman of Monnas. There had been much discussion amongst the Monument coaching staff as to where to play him. In the early part of the season at the World Schools Festival they had been shuffling him between flyhalf and fullback presumably trying to accommodate more senior players in the team. On Saturday he must surely have put the argument to bed when he put on a absolute master-class against Glenwood.
His incisive running and clever use of the boot kept the Glenwood boys on the backfoot for most of the game. The constant threat from Goodman, who scored 2 tries of his own, caused Glenwood to become quite narrow in its defensive lines. X factor players create there own sense of gravity on the field with defenders looking to cover potential gaps. Every time he touched the ball Glenwoods defence would have to hold to protect the 10/12 channel instead of drifting across the field in cover. Consequently over the course of the game this gave the Monnas backs ample space to exploit the tiring defensive lines of Glenwood. Fullback Luan van der Walt was such a player, his strong running from the back bagged him a brace of tries with assists on two others.
Glenwood did try and get things going in the second half but scoreboard pressure caused a number of handling errors as they tried to raise the intensity. As is the case when things are just not clicking frustration grows and so does the potential for ill-discipline something which Glenwood were guilty of. They were, however, rewarded with a try late in the 2nd half by Vian Du Ploy but it was to little to late as Monument scored again to give Glenwood its biggest defeat in a while 48-11.
That the unbeaten tag is finally out of the way could possibly be a good thing as Glenwood head into the Kearsney Easter Rugby festival. How the coaching staff will approach this week is anyone’s guess but possibly a greater emphasis on positional defensive responsibility and kicking out of hand may be the order of the day. This is a good Glenwood side with still lots to play for.